The first ever Rhondda Arts Festival in Treorchy is on its way (2018), bringing a raft of artistic talent to the Welsh valleys town at the end of June.
The brilliant Lloyd Langford will be kicking off a series of four big-name comedy showcases. In this first festival exclusive the Baglan boy spoke to Col Howarth about his journey so far and a new show for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe!
'My first ever gig was in secondary school. They used to put on a Christmas dinner for a local old folks’ home and I hosted it: taking the piss out of the pensioners, telling the old ladies they were too young to come in, just general messing about. It was a lot of fun. Even though it was my first ever gig, the audience and I had equal chances of dying.’
Lloyd Langford is reminiscing about his days growing up in Baglan, a hilltop village that overlooks Port Talbot in a South Wales region famous for producing such luminaries as Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Michael Sheen and Rob Brydon. Did being from Baglan give Lloyd a unique view of the world?
‘No. Being from Baglan gives you a unique view of Britton Ferry. Which isn’t really something to boast about.’
And so it begins! Whilst the seed was planted at high school, it wasn’t until Lloyd had packed his bags and set out for Warwick University to study film,, that stand-up comedy really beckoned.
‘I used to do youth theatre but always gravitated towards character and comedy roles. I think it was a combination of my love of comedy coupled with my absolute inability to sing and dance! And then two things happened that were the catalyst for me trying stand-up. I saw a very brief clip of Daniel Kitson performing on television, and then in fresher’s week at university I saw my first ever stand up show: Chris Addison and Francesca Martinez. I was 18 years old - two weeks into uni - and I decided there and then that I wanted to be a stand up!
'I got to see different comedians every fortnight at university, so I saw a bunch of great acts. I’m not sure exactly why but I think Warwick University was the only gig on the now largely defunct comedy network that was programmed by both Avalon and Off The Kerb. Usually one or the other would book the comedians. So I had a real good mix of people. I saw Sarah Kendall, John Oliver, Craig Campbell, Lee Mack, Glenn Wool, Andy Zaltzman, Daniel Kitson, Noel Fielding, Lucy Porter, Jimmy Carr, Dara O’Briain.
'I think it was £3 a ticket. I drank it all in. It was fucking great.’
So, now bitten by the bug, how long did it take before you felt like a stand-up? Before it felt like this was an actual thing?
‘When I was an open spot there was a camaraderie among us and it felt like we were in it together. Maybe it’s the confidence of youth but I didn’t question failing at it. I just kept doing it because it was great fun and I loved it. Nine gigs in and I was a competition semi-finalist at the Edinburgh Fringe. Nine gigs in is pretty much brand new. I was clueless. I just entered the competition. That’s where I met my two oldest friends in comedy, Matt Forde and Rhod Gilbert.’
From here Lloyd kicked on, honing his unique brand of sharp observational and anecdotal stuff, and endearing audiences to his easy going presence and quirky delivery. Lloyd is brilliant at turning the detail of the every day into finely spun comedy gold, and this has lead to a string of top writing credits that include the likes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown as well as several collaborations with his old friend Rhod.
With radio and TV credits coming out of his ears the praise came rolling in too, with The Guardian describing Lloyd as One of the sharpest comedic minds on the circuit and celebrating his spell-binding, hysterically funny comedy. And with a new show heading to the Edinburgh Fringe this year (2018) no doubt the praise will continue. Tell us a bit about the new show, Lloyd.
‘It’s called Why The Big Face? It’s basically stories from my life from the last couple of years. It’s a free show on at the Banshee Labyrinth. I would’ve done the full run but my brother is getting married, the selfish bastard, and so I have to take a few days off for that. I’m the maid of honour.’
On 28th June (2018) Lloyd will be kicking off a four-night extravaganza of top drawer stand-up at The Lion, in Treorchy: a cracking venue and the perfect space for a spot of stand-up.
Part of the Rhondda Arts Festival in Treorchy, the events, which will run across four consecutive nights, will bring not only a glittering cast of big name TV headliners to town with Craig Campbell, Tony Law and Nathan Caton also bringing the funnies, but a line-up of top supporting acts too, with all four shows hosted by Porth’s very own stand-up comedy machine Drew Taylor.
Lloyd is looking forward to travelling up the M4 from London to gig in the valleys.
‘I don’t get any sheep noises in Wales, so that’s a bonus. I was doing this gig in Mid Wales where I started joking about the Welsh flag. This bloke in the audience started kicking off and heckling. He wasn’t happy at all. On closer inspection, he wasn’t even in the audience. He was doing sound and lights for the venue!’